I've had some readers inquire where I get the ideas for all the blogs. It's true there are slow times for blog ideas and other times when the thoughts tumble out like high mountain streams. I've found that two infallible areas that stimulate blogs are looking through the many pictures I take in my garden (and my garden photography has increased substantially since I started blogging) and from simply observing and noting what plants look good or what activities I'm doing in the garden in a particular week. But when I get stuck, picking up a new garden book will always trigger a few new opinions to blog about.
My latest read was found on the trip I just took to Seattle. Titled The Gin and Tonic Gardener, by Janice Wells, it bore a 2006 publication date, but I don't recall that I'd ever seen it before. Certainly, I chose it because I felt the short, humorous essays of the book would make a light refreshing read on the trip and for no other specific reason. Sometimes, a gardener likes to just sit and read, okay?
The Gin and Tonic Gardener was exactly that, an interesting, loosely autobiographical chronicle of a year's worth of gardening efforts by Ms. Wells. But, like many of the gardening manuscripts I read, here and there were statements that either made me sit up and think "well, there's a new thought", or "there's a beautiful thought," or "really? That's not what I think." The latter more critical opinion comes, of course, from the cynical professor side of my nature; that mind-image that is always sitting in a comfortable chair in the den, reading in dim light in a well-worn sweater, and mumbling "Hhhmpfff, Humbug" once in awhile.
I ended up jotting a note for 9 different potential blogs from The Gin and Tonic Gardener, so you can look forward in the future to blogs about purple-leafed honeysuckle ground covers, puttering in the garden, and the concept of waiting for the garden to tell you what to do. These notes/ideas are written as simple one-line concepts to remind me what random thought crossed my mind, sometimes supplemented by the page number of the book I was reading at the time. I certainly never copy anything from a book without quoting it, but I'm not above expanding on good ideas from other writers or taking off on a tangent from their words. If I were to paraphrase the famous quote by Sir Issac Newton about "standing on the shoulders of giants," it would be to say "If I have gardened or written about gardening better, it was by picking roses planted by great gardeners past."